Wednesday, February 27, 2013

PLF – Devious Persecution and Wholesale Slaughter

When it was announced that Bryan Fajardo was joining PLF it was pretty exciting. Let’s be honest, as far as grindcore drummers go, Fajardo is royalty with his name over albums by Kill The Client, Gridlink and Phobia and now he adds PLF’s third LP Devious Persecution and Wholesale Slaughter to his glistening resume.

At the same time however, Texas’s PLF (Pretty Little Flower originally, now Pulverising Lethal Force) have never been slouches themselves, as evidenced by their lengthy discography of LPs, EPs and splits amassed since 2000. Last year’s split 7” with Nashgul definitely catapulted them back into the grindcore consciousness again but Devious Persecution and Wholesale Slaughter takes everything to a whole new level.

Over the last 12 months the world of grindcore has been on top form with many impressive releases coming from all angles, whether you’re Pig Destroyer or Cloud Rat. Standing out is key of course and PLF do so with ease on these 17 minutes of caustic and corrosive fury.

Of course, the drumming needs to be mentioned. It’s fierce and unrelenting, with dizzying blasts in abundant supply, it almost feels silly pointing out what is so obvious. The buzzsaw guitars are the perfect garnish, drawing from the Insect Warfare pool a little bit, while the vocal delivery is mostly on the deep, coarse end of the spectrum, dipped in judicial amounts of reverb.

Terse and concise as always, this is PLF at some of their ferocious best.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Latest reviews: Nails, Rest, Anciients, Finntroll

In the last few days, four reviews have found their way onto t’internet. What was easily the most anticipated of the four is Abandon All Life, the new LP from Nails. It’s the vital follow-up to 2010’s utterly killer Unsilent Death record. Click HERE for the review, which is live now on CVLT Nation. Speaking of CVLT Nation, Rest’s long awaited new DLP I Hold the Wolf has gotten the once over too. Check out the review HERE.

Meanwhile, over on Metal Ireland, there are two new reviews of Anciients and Finntroll. The former (HERE) is a veritable mixed bag, which shouldn’t work but does while on the other hand you have Finntroll who have more or less made another Finntroll record, albeit with a slightly darker edge. Read it HERE.


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Matt Fox, Shai Hulud interview

About two weeks ago I interviewed Shai Hulud’s Matt Fox about their new record, Reach Beyond The Sun. The chat touched on a number of issues, from Chad Gilbert returning to the fold to the death of a close friend. The interview went on for a little longer than I expected but Matt has a lot of interesting things to say. Read the interview HERE.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Streams: Giles Corey and Eleleth

Two new releases came out online this week and you can stream them right here. First off, Giles Corey released a new three track EP out of nowhere this called Hinterkaifeck, which sees him at his most downtrodden yet with a harrowingly beautiful dark folk. This is no easy task, you’ll understand if you heard his sublime 2011 self-titled album. Stream the album right here or go on over to his Bandcamp page to buy the digital release for a measly $3

Earlier this week you may have read the fawning Light Bearer review. Vocalist Alex CF has been working on this new project, Eleleth, with Michele from Italian black metallers Gottesmorder, which saw the light of day this week in the shape of this new EP called Theothanatology. Eleleth is a drone and dark ambient exploration for the duo with harsh, scathing vocals for the most part but some delicate clean singing to be found, all conjuring a cold atmosphere. Listen below: 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Brief news round-up: Terra Tenebrosa, Eluvium, Rorcal

Terra Tenebrosa have a new album out this week, The Purging. The Swedish experimental hardcore band, who feature ex members of Breach have posted one song from the album, which is the follow-up to 2011’s intriguing debut, The Tunnels. This new song sees them at their fiercest… and fastest, which isn’t a bad mix of course. Here’s the track:

On the topic of new songs, ambient maestro Eluvium is also planning to release his new record Nightmare Ending on May 14th. Drowned In Sound premiered a new song this week, ‘Don’t Get Any Closer’, which you can check out HERE or just below. 

Just a few weeks ago there was a post looking at the new Rorcal album, Vilagvege. The full album is streaming now via our good friends at CVLT Nation and also from French site Metal Orgie. After the devastating doom opus that was Heliogabalus, the band has sped things up again with this new long player. Check it out at the links just above and keep an eye out for some new posts this weekend.
Rorcal - Vilagvege

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Light Bearer - Silver Tongue

Silver Tongue is the second chapter of Light Bearer’s planned Æsahættr Tetralogy, a chapter preceded by 2011’s monumental album, Lapsus, a record you may recall was the album of the year in 2011 on this very blog. Following up with a stunning 21 minute odyssey in the shape of ‘Celestium Apocrypha: Book of Watchers’, which emerged last year on the split LP with Northless,  we saw the London post metal band expand a great deal on the ideas of Lapsus in breathtaking fashion, hinting that maybe Lapsus was only the tip of the iceberg. Naturally, weighty expectations have engulfed Silver Tongue, the band’s astoundingly sprawling album that hits 79 minutes.

Silver Tongue has a lot to take in. It’s just not possible to get everything from this album with only a few listens. It’s similar to Lapsus in that regard, but simply augmented a great deal. Light Bearer’s music has, while being destructively heavy for the most part, been equally uplifting, melodic and often just beautiful. There’s an enriching cathartic nature to the band’s sleek melodies and dreamy ambience washing over the cataclysmic, sludgy riffing all topped off by the affecting, heart wrenching but still so coarse vocals of Alex CF.

As was surely intended, Silver Tongue is a true epic journey record. You know so straight away from ‘Beautiful is this Burden’, the vast 18 minute opener that begins with slow, unfurling strings soon joined by a light brass section that’s totally captivating, and this is all before the frenzied eruption of heavy, dense walls of guitars and vocals kick in. From there, Light Bearer unveil a hail of dizzying emotion that will leave you reeling and this is only the first song.

This is an album wrought with a great deal of emotional fervour in every note. More melody has seeped into the band’s sound all the while the album has some of the band’s heaviest riffing yet. The dark and light shades are evidenced by ‘Amalgam’ and ‘Matriarch’, where the former sees the band traverse through more belligerently and crushingly heavy passages, the latter is a subdued 11 minute effort with slow creeping croons that invoke feelings both of the ghostly and serene.

Where Lapsus was a slower album comparatively, Silver Tongue manages to up the pace in many areas while also maintaining that doom-inflected trudge at the same time, a skill definitely made possible by the album’s long running time, where the band can shoehorn in more and more ideas but also done tastefully so. This is exhibited very much so by the near-17 minutes of ‘Aggressor & Usurper’, detonating with chunkier riffs that gather in force to create one of the album’s more adrenaline dripping tracks, all intensified by Alex CF’s emotive vocal delivery. There are even moments on the track that hark to Momentum’s Whetting Occam’s Razor, the brief hardcore band that featured Alex alongside three other members of Light Bearer. It makes for a suitable nod to the band’s so fervent hardcore roots.

Unsurprisingly, Light Bearer chooses to end the record on the most grandiose of notes with the 19 minute title track. It’s a track that coalesces all of the band’s strengths and ambitions, lined with melody and heart stopping splendour, all deftly crafted into one sublime work of art. It’s beautiful and captivating; with emotion pouring from the every fissure of the record and Alex CF probably delivers his most poignant vocal yet, all scaling to a devastatingly beautiful crescendo and conclusion.

It was almost hard to envisage how Silver Tongue would play out, given the immensity of Lapsus and ‘Celestium Apocrypha’, but Light Bearer have thrown caution to the wind once again and embraced total ambition on what is, for now, their finest moment.

Monday, February 18, 2013

New tracks from Zozobra and Woe

Have a good weekend? In case you missed out on this bit of news, Zozobra and Woe both released new tracks from their respective forthcoming records.

Zozobra have been pretty quiet for the last few, specifically since last album 2008’s Bird of Prey and it’s not really surprising for the band helmed by Cave In bassist Caleb Scofield. Cave In jetted back into our consciousness in 2009 and released a long awaited new album in 2011 so many would have assumed that Zozobra and other side projects might be on the backburner for a while but lo and behold there was a new Old Man Gloom record last year and Zozobra will release new full-length, Savage Masters in April via Brutal Panda Records. The album will allegedly move a little away from their crushing sludge sound toward a more hardcore based sound, striking an assiduous balance between. This new song ‘Black Holes’ certainly attests to that anyway.

Meanwhile, Philadelphia black metallers Woe are prepping the release of their new LP entitled Withdrawal, to be released through Candlelight and have a new song streaming over on Pitchfork. ‘Carried by Waves to Remorseless Shores of the Truth’ is the first hint of the new Woe. Last album, Quietly, Undramatically was the first record released by Chris Grigg with a full band, having been as a multi-instrumentalist and Woe a lone man BM entity before that. Now with Withdrawal they have truly expanded into a fully-fledged band and are better for it as ‘Carried…’ is a very whole sounding track, opposed to the lacklustre production that plagued Quietly, Undramatically, so much so that is was re-mastered last year. Check out the stream HERE and the artwork below. 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Ghost Cult issue 5 online now

The new issue of Ghost Cult Magazine is online now, and is available to read HERE or even just down below. This issue features just three record reviews from me, firstly the new album from October Falls, The Plague of a Coming Age, as well as a look at the new Blockheads record and the latest one from Danish black metal band, Blodarv. Read on if you so desire.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Stream: Njiqahdda's Initiation

Njiqahdda have released a new EP entitled Initiation, which is the swift follow-up to the stunning Serpents in the Sky album released in early January. The new EP is streaming in full below. Initiation very much picks up where Serpents in the Sky left, albeit shorter, with melodic but sludgy riffs but also clean eerie vocals complemented by throat scratching bellows. At the same, there are moments on here that see the band touch on their neo-folk leanings once again on ‘Skyadh (I & II)’ with solemn acoustic guitars somewhat reminiscent of the Disciples of Flame (Agni Yoga) album.

This is the second release in a row from the hugely prolific band that has eschewed the black metal of previous releases and it hints to more and more interesting things down. Seeing as we’re only halfway through February at this point and there’s already been two Njiqahdda records already, not to mention their alter egos Oaks of Bethel, it’s hard to imagine we’ll be kept waiting long to hear what they do next. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Reviews round-up: Mourning Beloveth, Kongh, Children of God

Here is a quick round-up of all the latest reviews from the last few days. Firstly, there are two new record reviews up on the Molten Magazine website, namely Mourning Beloveth’s Formless and Kongh’s Sole Creation. The former is a devastatingly beautiful slab of affecting doom metal from the Irish band, one we would come to expect of course but Formless is particularly impressive. Click HERE to find out why. On the flip side, there’s Kongh, best click HERE then to see what I’m talking about.

Thirdly – Children of God. This new LP, We Set Fire to the Sky, is definitely something to be excited about. The Californian hardcore/sludge band have totally stepped up their game for this one and the results are pretty stunning. Click HERE for the review on CVLT Nation.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

News: Palms post music at last, Enabler & KEN Mode drop new tracks and Season of Mist make a signing

This week has been jammed with new music and news across the board, with new tracks from Enabler and KEN Mode as well as info (finally) on the debut album from Palms, the new band featuring ex-members of Isis, joined by Deftones’ Chino Moreno, who will be releasing their self-titled record on June 25th, through Mike Patton’s Ipecac Records. If you’ve read this blog down through the years then you might have guessed that Isis are (or were, whatever) one of my most beloved bands. Deftones, not so much. They’ll always be one of those bands I don’t understand the total adulation for, other than White Pony, no album has ever grabbed me, though I do, however, understand the uniqueness of Chino’s voice and mixing this in with the instrumentation of Jeff Caxide, Aaron Harris and Clifford Meyer is certainly quite interesting. Chino uploaded a new song, 'Tropics' that was removed soon after, strangely, but here it is again. It could be gone by the time you read this though...

[EDIT: Yeah, it's gone again]

Just a few days ago, we were looking at the new artwork for Enabler’s forthcoming 7” Shift of Redemption. Well, Metal Sucks are now streaming a new song – ‘Live Low’. Check it out HERE. The opening lyrics of “fuck you, fuck you, fuck you forever” pretty much sums up this track, with the band not losing any of their vitriol but none of their melody either. Don’t forget that Enabler play The Pint on March 1st with Rotten Sound and Martyrdöd.
Speaking of new songs, KEN Mode have debuted yet another new track from Entrench called ‘Terror Pulse’ thanks to Exclaim! Magazine. The album, which is their first with Season of Mist, is slated to be their very best yet… no easy feat. Have a listen to the track HERE, and here’s the what the band themselves had to say about the track: “The first couple track debuts from Entrench’ have seen us showcasing a little bit more of our hardcore/metalcore side, so with ‘The Terror Pulse’ we’ve scaled things back to an older school noise rock feel. Conjuring our interpretation of early Swans and Rollins Band, the song truly drips with the venom of mistreatment as it pulsates its way into your subconscious. This is goodbye."

While we’re on the topic of Season of Mist, the label has signed Australian prog metallers Ne Obliviscaris. You may remember that they released a stunning album last year. No? Let this jog your memory.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Various news: Steven Wilson, Altar of Plagues, Pestilence, Enabler

Steven Wilson will be releasing his third album, The Raven That Refused to Sing (and other stories) later this month and has released the first music video for the title track, which expands on the album’s artwork. This song sees Wilson at some of his most beautiful reflective with heavily poignant vocals, all complemented by a leading piano. The closing notes are also quite reminiscent of Alcest, particularly their last album. Have a listen here:

In what is a scant but wholly welcomed piece of news, Altar of Plagues have announced their new album title as Teethed Glory and Injury, due for release April 30th through Profound Lore. The new album is pegged to be markedly different than White Tomb and Mammal, supposedly featuring shorter songs, and according to vocalist/guitarist James Kelly, meshes electronic elements with a ferocity akin to Pig Destroyer’s Prowler In The Yard. More details are in a studio report interview HERE.

Pestilence will be releasing their third album since reforming, Obsideo, with Candlelight Records, announcing the new deal a few days ago. The album will be the follow-up to 2011’s poorly received Doctrine album. The Dutch death metal band’s core Patrick Mameli (vocals, guitar) and Peter Utwerwijk (guitar) remains intact with drummer David Haley of Psycroptic and bassist George Maier joining them for this recording. The band’s statement read: "Pestilence is very excited to announce that they have signed a recording deal with Candlelight Records. We feel that our new material is very special and innovative and that it needs the back up of a solid company like Candlelight to get it out there to the metal world."

Enabler have revealed some more details about their new EP, Shift of Redemption, the follow-up to last year’s stellar album, All Hail The Void. The 7” is being released by Think Fast Records on April 9th and includes four new slabs of metallic hardcore – ‘Shift of Redemption’, ‘Live Low’, ‘Sacrifice’, ‘Fall Selflessly’.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Latest reviews: Njiqahdda, Ecocide

Here’s a quick round-up of the two latest record reviews penned by yours truly. Over on CVLT Nation, there’s a look at the new full-length from the mysterious Illinois collective Njiqahdda, Serpents in the Sky. A staggering listen, the album is a definite highlight in the band’s already expansive and versatile discography. Click HERE to read.

Second is Ecocide, the review of their posthumous LP, When Will It End? went online last Sunday but in case you missed it, get clicking HERE.

Keep an eye out shortly for some new reviews next week, including Children of God’s new LP We Set Fire To The Sky. Light Bearer also released their new album, Silver Tongue, online today so expect a full low down on that soon.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Stuff that happened this week: Vaccine break up, Sargeist, Wormrot, Gorguts

It came to light this week that sadly Vaccine, definitely one of powerviolence’s deadliest forces, will be breaking up, with a simple statement that read, “Vaccine is calling it quits. 4 years, 100+ shows in 13 different countries, 40 something songs, 6 records, 2 comps...time to do something else.” The band will play three more shows, fittingly one of which is with reunited PV pioneers Infest and release one more record, a five song split 7” with No Faith. Vaccine will be sadly missed. The Human Hatred EP is a powerviolence must have and last year’s duo of 7”s in the shape of the Dead Inside EP and split with Coke Bust were quality to say the least. They certainly impressed a great deal in a short space, evidenced by their entire discography probably not hitting the 25/30 minute mark and their ferocious set in Dublin last July, which lasted about a dozen minutes. It probably won’t be long before we hear from bassist Will Killingsworth again though, chances are he already has a new band or two up his sleeve.

Sargeist aren’t releasing a new album, though it may have looked that way when a ‘new’ song appeared on the World Terror Committee Productions Soundcloud page. No, rather the label is releasing a compilation of remastered EP and split material that will be available on CD for the first time ever.  Below you can listen to the version of ‘Nightmares and Necromancy’, which appeared on the very recent release of 2011’s 7” EP The Lair of Necromancy, a strange choice considering it would make more sense to showcase an older song that had received the remaster treatment ahead of the compilation’s release. The comp, which is called The Rebirth of a Cursed Existence, will for example feature the band’s material from the 2002 split with Merrimack, which was one of Sargeist’s first releases.

Wormrot, Singapore’s finest grindcore export, have been recording something according to this image they posted on Facebook. They announced a hiatus a number of months back but with a sporadic number of shows since then, it appears the hiatus is over before it ever really started. Whatever this new recording is, it’s probably not an album, even five minutes is too short for a grind LP. Maybe it’s a new EP or material for a split, though I’d wager it’s another digital EP from Scion A/V like Noise.

And probably the best news we can end on. Gorguts have finally announced another update since August, confirming that the band is now with Season of Mist, but unfortunately, they haven’t set a name or release date just yet. Here’s the word anyway:
“It is with great joy that I announce the return of Gorguts to Season of Mist! Things have not always been easy these last couple of years, but now it’s all behind us and all I can say is that I’m more than eager to share this new record with all of you. Our forthcoming album will be a very detailed, dark, epic, emotional, conceptual record"

Monday, February 4, 2013

Change is good for the soul

Right, I’ve been running this blog for nigh on four years now and in the last two and half years in particular, posting has been pretty prolific, with posts up daily and sometimes even more. I mean, there were 415 posts made in 2012 and while I love posting here and the blog is my baby, this sort of frequency was never sustainable especially considering it’s a lone man operation. But calm down, this isn’t a eulogy or something, it’s not the end or anything. No, rather I’m just changing the format and putting a little more focus on quality not quantity. So for example, instead of posting every single review that’s online on CVLT Nation, Ghost Cult or Molten etc. I’ll post a summary of reviews at the end of the week… or something in that format. You dig? Of course, there will still be full reviews posted here too, like Ecocide yesterday. Similarly, with new tracks posted by bands, instead of single posts on each new track, I’ll go back to the old round-up style of news posts. Seem cool? It’ll work better I think.

I’ll probably kick this off properly next week, as for this week I have a good few posts I’d like to get through, including the continuation of the Redemption Festival previews. Cool? Cool. As always, I greatly appreciate your time in reading the words on this here blog. For more ramblings from me, I’m on Twitter @J_K9. Cheers.

It isn't really though.

Our road to Redemption... #3

Redemption is this Saturday, so there isn’t much longer to go and it will mark (please correct if mistaken) Winterfylleth’s Irish live debut. The Manchester black metallers have rightfully been gaining praise for the last couple of records, particularly 2010’s The Mercian Sphere, which was topped off by last year’s The Threnody of Triumph, a record that was rightfully lauded as one of 2012’s BM highlight, incensed with a melodic grandeur that was, at times, beautiful. How that translates live has received some mixed responses but seemingly when they’re on form, they astound. Fingers crossed.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Ecocide - When Will It End?

Sadly the answer to Ecocide’s question found within this album title is now. The Texan crust troupe has already called it a day before the release of this new LP through Tofu Carnage Records. The record is certainly a way to out with a bang though and as far as this brand of atmospheric crust, with tints of post metal goes, When Will It End? could be one of the finest in 2013 as a standard bearer. With the likes of Downfall of Gaia gaining prominent notoriety of late, there’s a definite eye on this whole sort of thing more than ever, and Ecocide unfortunately won’t be able to capitalise on the undeniable momentum that this record would have created for them.

Ecocide’s  particular brand of epic crust is made all the more versatile by vocalist Heidi’s violin skills added to the mix as the opening violin line of creeping sorrow encroach on first track, the appropriately titled, ‘Despair’ before a thundering judder of double kick drums and searing riffs interrupt. It’s all topped off by Heidi’s wretched throat scraping vocals. It’s at this point that Ecocide's MO with When Will It End? is made abundantly clear.

The band aren’t reinventing the wheel by any means. This has been all done before, particularly by Fall of Efrafa with their trilogy of albums but that doesn’t stop Ecocide from still administering a sound kicking of their own. There’s an unavoidable black metal influence that permeates this record too, specifically in the vocals, with Heidi’s scathing shrieks that would be just as much at home in a snow blanketed forest.

Except, as the band’s name would suggest, there’s an overriding them of man’s destruction of the environment, something very much shown by the lumbered forest in the artwork and perhaps the record’s title is serving as a plea to end such unnecessary destruction. Whatever the case, the band’s sonic destruction, and creeping airs of melody, are not questionable. Taking elements of the crust and hardcore backgrounds that they quite seemingly come from, with judicial notes from black and doom metal, When Will It End? is a powerful LP in every sense. Just a shame it’s their last.


Friday, February 1, 2013

Black Boned Angel - The End

Desperate and exhausting. Aurally taxing but strangely invigorating, such is the world of Black Boned Angel. The appropriately titled The End is the New Zealand drone/doom band's farewell after more than ten years of sonic destruction. Click HERE for the review of the record now.